Paul Pogba has taken Serie A by storm since joining Juventus on a free transfer in January 2012, blossoming into one of Europe’s most coveted talents.
Manchester United - and particularly Sir Alex Ferguson - have been left red-faced by the 21-year-old’s rise to prominence after letting him slip out of their grasp.
But Juventus’ joy at having Pogba in their ranks in the midst of United’s pain has been tempered by fears that he could soon be lost to one of the continent’s economic giants.
Whilst United have been linked with their former charge this term, it’s wealthy Paris Saint-Germain that are widely seen as top contenders for the Frenchman’s signature.
Pogba carries hefty price-tag thought to be in the region of €70 million and as money is no object to PSG, they could feasibly make an offer Juventus couldn’t refuse.
Whenever talk of a big-money deal are floating around, however, it seems Real Madrid’s name is never far away.
And on Monday Los Blancos were duly inserted into the Pogba transfer saga by the French media, by way of more than just their ability to pay hefty fees.
France Football reported that Zinedine Zidane - sporting director and assistant coach at Real Madrid - phoned Pogba directly to convince him to come to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Boss Carlo Ancelotti is said to be behind the move, seeing the ex-United man as a long-term successor to the 32-year-old Xabi Alonso.
Yet Juventus, who have constantly stated their desire to keep Pogba, were unimpressed with the report and fired back immediately via director Beppe Marotta.
Marotta told Sky Italia: “We don’t believe there was any such call with Zidane, nor any interest from Real Madrid," he said.
“We are fortunate to have Pogba who is young and growing consistently, so we are happy to have him," Marotta added.